Press Release


Washington, D.C. (May 9, 2024) – EARTHDAY.ORG, the global force behind Earth Day, mourns the passing of former GOP Congressman Paul N. “Pete” (“Pete” was a nickname. No one ever called him “Peter”) McCloskey. Renowned for his decorated service in the Marines, McCloskey boldly opposed the Vietnam War, labeling it ‘illegal’. He famously was one of the first serving politicians to demand the impeachment of President Richard M. Nixon, challenging Nixon’s leadership over the controversial conflict.

McCloskey has a special place in the history of Earth Day, having served as co-chair of the board of directors for the first Earth Day in 1970.

McCloskey worked to pass the Clean Air Act that same year, 1970, and co-authored the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. McCloskey regarded the passing of this Act as his greatest legacy to his country. The ESA still stands to this day and its primary goal remains preserving habitat for our endangered species. It has effectively saved millions of acres of natural landscape from being despoiled.

Denis Hayes, principal organizer of the first Earth Day, remembers McCloskey as a passionate environmental champion with a great sense of humor. “Pete often referred to himself as an endangered species: the last Green Republican.”

“The land that McCloskey fought so hard to protect has been instrumental in saving endangered species, including our cherished national symbol, the American bald eagle,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of EARTHDAY.ORG. “It is deeply disheartening that today’s Republican Party has announced their intention to dismantle this crucial piece of legislation – destroying safe havens for wildlife and tarnishing Pete’s legacy.”

McCloskey fervently urged the younger generations in America to rally against any attempts to dilute his legacy, asking them to draw inspiration from the activism of the inaugural Earth Day. EARTHDAY.ORG supports McCloskey’s wishes and we too, ask everyone in America who cares about the environment, the protection of wildlife and the importance of having large tracts of land for everyone to enjoy, to make their feelings known.

Write to your elected politicians and ask them to support The Endangered Species Act in honor of the memory of a true hero – and our friend – Pete McCloskey.

About EARTHDAY.ORG: EARTHDAY.ORG’s founders created and organized the very first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Since then, EARTHDAY.ORG has mobilized over 1 billion people annually on Earth Day, and every day, to protect the planet. EARTHDAY.ORG’s mission is to diversify, educate, and activate environmental actions and advocacy worldwide. EARTHDAY.ORG is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental community, working with more than 150,000 partners in nearly 192 countries to build environmental democracy. Learn more at EARTHDAY.ORG. It’s not a day, it’s a movement. Media Inquiries Sarah Davies, [email protected], +1 240 463 1341